A proposed temporary move to Oakwell for the Wakefield Wildcats is a story that has had appeared every couple of months for the last few years. New chairman Andrew Glover realises that their current home, Belle Vue, is inadequate to fulfull the Wildcats’ ambitions – it either needs to be redeveloped or a new stadium built elsewhere, however they have only recently emerged from administration and stadiums aren’t cheap!
Glover told the Wakefield Express, “If you look at all areas, the commercial side, community side, the fans coming to the game, the way we play the game, it works so much better at Belle Vue than it would at Barnsley, the only thing that Barnsley does is comply with the stadium, we’re trying to do that with the new stadium anyway.”
With most other Super League teams having built new stadiums, or moved in with a local football team, the Wildcats really are trailing behind when it comes to having facilities that can attract and retain a crowd. A move to Oakwell, which is by no means Wembley but more modern than anything else within a large radius, would certainly give Wakefield the facilities to put them on a par with their rivals until an arrangement can be made on a new home – possibly even a shared home with Castleford Tigers who find themselves in a similar predicament.
As a Barnsley fan, are you pleased that the Wildcats chairman has distanced his club from a proposed move to Oakwell? I’m sure most fans would cite the state that the pitch would be left in with little recovery time between rugby and football matches – The Reds at least try to play the ball on the deck so it would be difficult to maintain a ‘bowling green’ surface.
The financial side of sport is almost becoming more important than the actual playing, and can have a large bearing on what a team can achieve. For Barnsley, renting out the stadium when they aren’t using it will be very appealing. And for Wakefield, the opportunity to increase their fan base must be a big consideration – although the risk of alienating existing fans cannot be ignored.
I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this one!
- Wakefield Trinity Wildcats enter administration to avoid winding-up petition (telegraph.co.uk)
- Wakefield Wildcats out of administration after sale goes through (guardian.co.uk)
- Group seals Wakefield takeover (news.bbc.co.uk)